*Note: I'd like to preface this post with the fact that this is my first Thanksgiving where I didn't see my family and I apologize if I wax nostalgicly. Also, as unbelievable as this story may seem, it is the honest to God truth, so that should give you some insight into how I became the person I am today.
While Thanksgiving is nice, my favorite late November Holiday is Black Friday. Ever since I was a young boy, my dad would wake me up at 3:30 AM the morning after Thanksgiving so that we could sneak out of the house without waking anybody and whisk ourselves away to the Winter wonderland that is the shopping mall. Now, my more obsessively organized father has always had the Christmas shopping done for the entire family in July, so shopping was the last thing on our minds this early in the morning. Our mission, and we accepted it with pride and humility, was to seriously fuck with the days of every other crazed shopper in the Metro Atlanta area.
The reason we got up so early was so that we could score one of the highly coveted parking spaces close to the doors of the mall. *Note: this information will be useful later.
Inside, we would stroll leisurely looking in windows and silently applauding the efforts of the few women in reindeer sweaters milling about over christmas ornament soup turines who had enough forsight to get to the mall before even God woke up in order to avoid the crowds that would come around 7:00. These women are virtuous and do not deserve our wrath.
7:00 am. All. Hell. Breaks. Loose. Thousands of people descend on the mall, raping and pillaging the sale tables in the doorways of every store. Every thirty feet is another door way into an alternate universe where moms in sweatpants and grandmas in Reeboks fight over artfully ripped polo shirts to the soundtrack of canned techno muzak (oonce-oonce-oonce o-o-oonce).
Once the carnage begins, Dad and I jump into action. I don't know if it comes from raising small kids or what, but my dad has an uncanny ability to read someone's mind and know exactly what they are going to reach for a split second later. While useful with children to keep them from grabbing hot or sharp objects, on Black Friday he uses this skill to grab anything and everything that anoher shopper has eyed and is reaching for. It doesn't matter what it is or how much of it there is, he will grab it and grab it all. T-shirt? He'll grab the whole stack out from under the nose of another shopper. Batman action figure? I've never seen a man balancing that much vacuu-formed plastic while running to the back of the store in order to price check each one.
Since retail staff is stretched so thinnly the day after Thanksgiving, we always do our best to step in when someone needs assistance. "Can you bring me this in another size?" Absolutely. "Is this a band my son would like?" Uh-huh. After we've expended our welcome, but not before we've liberally sampled the perfume testers, we move on to our most challenging feat.
The Parking Lot Game.
So, because we, unlike our fellow shoppers, had the forsight to arrive in plenty of time to snag a coveted parking space we are in a position of power. Cars circle the parking lot, looking for a space, any space. They see my father and I walking down the aisles to our car, past our car, back around and around until they lose interest. When we get back to our car, we start the motor, adjust the heat and radio then begin to pull out. At this point it is certain that another driver sees this and patiently waits for us to pull out. If this is the case, we pull back into the spot, get out of the car and go back into the mall.
Yes, I know that these are innocent humans minding their own business and that we are the kind of jerks that really take the fun out of the holidays. However, my most cherished memories of my Dad came to be at the expense of others, and I wouldn't trade that for all the good karma in the world.
Happy Holidays, y'all. I'm off to eat gravy in bed.